88 CONSTANTINOPLE AND ITS ENVIRONS,"
But the tyranny and ambition of AH Pasha now subdued with resistless violence all
the strongholds in that country, and fixed his eye on Parga as a most desirable object.
The compassionate citizens had opened their gates to the fugitive Suliotes and other
oppressed people, driven from their native towns; and this unpardonable offence had
added to the malignant hostility of AH, and for twenty years he used every stratagem of
force or fraud to obtain possession of the place, without effect; till at length the protection afforded to it by England, was the means of gratifying all his evil passions. When
the Ionian Islands fell under the dominion of France, the Parghiotes put themselves
under its protection, against the power of AH, and received a French garrison in their
town; but when the islands were ceded to the English, the garrison capitulated, and the
inhabitants gladly committed themselves to the care of that free and enlightened state,
which they had always looked up to with honour and respect, and they were received as
an independent ally of the new Ionian republic. The rage of AH, when he saw his prey
thus snatched from him, wras ferocious, and vented itself in a bloody sacrifice of other
victims. For three years this connection continued, with mutual good-will; and they felt
the security of a perfect confidence. The crisis, however, of their fate was at hand.
The Turkish government demanded the town of Parga, as part of their territory,
and a secret negotiation was entered into with the English to surrender it. When this
transpired, the place was filled with consternation and despair. The people rushed into the
streets; they declared, and truly, that deserting them, was only sacrificing them to their
bitter persecutors, who had sworn to exterminate them, and they would not survive it, but
first destroy their wives and children, and finally themselves and their town. When no
entreaty could prevail on them to remain behind the English garrison, they were offered
an asylum in the island of Corfu, and a compensation for the property they left behind.
To these terms they were compelled to accede, and the Glasgow frigate was sent to
protect and convey them. The English found them in their church, disinterring the
bodies of their ancestors, and burning their bones, that thus they might not be left to
the sacrilegious insults of their enemies. The whole population then descended mournfully down the steep, some bearing the ashes of the dead, some grasping portions of the
soil of a place so dear to them, and some the sacred image by whose direction they had
chosen it. When arrived on the shore, they all kneeled down with one spontaneous
impulse, kissed fervently the sand, and so took a last and sad farewell. Before they
went out of the bay, the ferocious Albanians of AH, who were waiting like famished tigers,
rushed into the town. They found nothing that had life, all was still and motionless
except the columns of smoke that was still eddying up from the ashes of the dead.
The desponding remains of this interesting people, after continuing for a short time
in the Ionian Islands in poverty and distress, soon dispersed; the broken community was
absorbed in other populations, and the name forgotten; and the traveller who sails to
Corfu,)looks up as he passes this lovely bay, and sees the remains of this aerial city, lately
the residence of the free, industrious, and native Christian community, now the den of
some of the most ferocious and savage hordes of Turks in the Ottoman empire.